Speakers

Time to End Boring Music Demos

After a week of listening to bland and unemotional music at CEDIA Expo 2011, it’s time to put an end to boring music demos.


It's time to stop using Diana Krall records in music demos. The music is boring and it's detrimental to the communication of emotion that's a large part of music listening.
Robert Archer · September 12, 2011

Enough with the Diana Krall music demos. I can’t take them anymore.

Audio manufacturers have to stop using music that is completely uninspiring to demo products. I understand why audiophiles love Krall - she’s talented, attractive and her music is well produced - but for the masses, her music is a snoozefest.

Manufacturers shouldn’t demo gear with music from Britney Spears and Gwen Stefani, but there’s a happy medium of sound quality, mainstream recognition, artistic energy and integrity that manufacturers can strike.

There’s plenty of music from female artists such as Lisa Loeb, Paula Cole, Pink, Susan Tedeschi and Jennifer Nettles (vocalist for Sugarland) that feature quality production values and dynamic mastering techniques. Their records may not offer the range of audiophile traits of a Krall record, but they will emotionally engage listeners, which is far more important than how full and dynamic Krall’s emotionless records sound.

People buy music to make themselves feel happy, to relax and console themselves during sad times. They don’t buy music to have test material and say, “I think the kick drum on that down beat sounds tubby.”

Some of the best demos I can remember were ones in which the exhibitors engaged the audience. Genelec’s Florida rep Michael Chafee conducted a great demo at EHX a few years ago. He was explaining the clean and powerful volume capabilities of a Genelec active speaker system. To prove his point, he pulled out an SPL meter and measured the volume he was playing Black Sabbath’s “War Pigs.” The demo reached peak levels well over 100dB. At the end of the demo, a room full of custom installers walked out clapping their hands.

At CEDIA Expo 2011, Polk Audio played a clip from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame concert that featured Tom Morello (Rage Against the Machine and Audio Slave) jamming with Bruce Springsteen.

In Digital Projection’s (DP) booth at CEDIA Expo 2011, I saw clips from Tangled in 3D and Underworld in 2.35:1. In the joint theater demo conducted by SIM2 and Krell, I caught a rocking video of Metallica playing at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame concert and a clip from a space travel documentary in 3D.

If audio companies want more evidence that consumer engagement hinges on the choice of well-produced, emotionally-stimulating content, just look at your video counterparts who consistently use Up, The Incredibles and Star Wars: Episode I that balance quality and public familiarity.

DP, Krell and SIM2 get it. Excitement and emotion sell. Maybe it’s time for the audio community to stop complaining about the public’s focus on video and take a page out of the video manufacturer’s playbook by playing content that balances fun, excitement and quality.



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  About the Author

Bob is an audio enthusiast who has written about consumer electronics for various publications within Massachusetts before joining the staff of CE Pro in 2000. Bob is THX Level I certified, and he's also taken classes from the Imaging Science Foundation (ISF) and Home Acoustics Alliance (HAA). Bob also serves as the technology editor for CE Pro's sister publication Commercial Integrator. In addition, he's studied guitar and music theory at Sarrin Music Studios in Wakefield, Mass., and he also studies Kyokushin karate at 5 Dragons in Haverhill, Mass. Have a suggestion or a topic you want to read more about? Email Robert at robert.archer@emeraldexpo.com

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